Meyer lemons have a wonderfully sweet lemon flavor because they are less acidic than their more common counterparts. I am lucky enough to have a tree that gives me Meyers year round, but it is unusual to see the citrus fruit featured in commercial products. Trader Joe’s recently introduced a Meyer Lemon Cake Mix, offering a very easy way to get a taste of Meyer lemons to citrus-lovers.
The loaf comes together very quickly, calling for an egg, water and melted butter to be stirred into the box of mix. The dry mix contains dried lemon and orange peels, as well as powdered lemon juice. I’ve had some mixed results with Trader Joe’s baked goods in the past and, while some mixes have turned out well, like their bar cookies, others have been on the bland side. The instructions for this cake were very accurate and the cake baked up beautifully. I even made a loaf in a slightly larger pan (the packaging asks for an 8×4-inch pan and I feel a 9×5 is more common, so I wanted to try it) and still got a nice rise and only needed to take a couple of minutes off the baking time. I also liked the fact that the icing was included with the mix and already contained lemon juice, meaning you just had to add water and butter (it works with water alone, too) to make a quick and flavorful topping.
The cake had a lovely soft texture and a nice, sturdy crumb that made it very easy to slice. It had a nice butteriness to it and a pleasant lemon flavor. The glaze had a much brighter lemon flavor than the cake and really helped to bring out the citrus in each bite. I think that adding a little extra lemon zest (even if it’s not from a Meyer lemon) to the batter as you make it will take this cake from good to very good by making the lemon a bit brighter. Still, this is an easy mix that produces a tasty cake and doesn’t require any special ingredients or tools to put together, and I would recommend it. And if you want to get creative, in addition to a bit of zest, you could also consider stirring in some shredded coconut or a handful of fresh berries for another variation on the basic recipe.